barkan wine 88.
(photo credit: )
Though Barkan winery recently vacated its factory in the Barkan industrial zone in the West Bank, Israeli peace organization Gush Shalom has decided to keep Israel's second largest winery on its list of companies whose products are made in the settlements, along with a call to boycott the winery.
Sa'ar Faraj, Barkan's legal adviser, wrote to Gush Shalom this week asking for the winery to be removed from the list, where it has appeared since the list's creation in 1995.
"I'd like to make it clear that Barkan does not produce materials in settlements whatsoever, nor does it purchase raw materials made in settlements," Faraj wrote. "Please make sure to remove Barkan from the list immediately."
In 2004, Barkan began moving their operations from Barkan to Hulda, a kibbutz within the pre-1967 borders.
Israeli-based beverage company Tempo, which owns Barkan winery, is partly owned by Dutch-based Heineken International. According to Gush Shalom, the Dutch government's opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank led Heineken to pressure Tempo to have Barkan move out of the West Bank.
The move has since been completed, but the company still operates three wineries within the Golan Heights, which Gush Shalom considers illegally occupied territory.
"The Golan Heights counts, for us, as a settlement," said Gush Shalom spokesman Adam Keller, who responded to Faraj's letter informing him that Barkan would remain on the list. "If Barkan were to get rid of [its] Golan Heights wineries, we would take them off the list, and let all of the organizations we work with [know] that we don't want to boycott them anymore."
Faraj, though, is not convinced of the legality of Gush Shalom's definition of settlement, which is "any community of Israeli civilians living on land captured by the IDF in the war between June 5 to June 10 1967."
"Their definition is not accurate by law," Faraj said. "The Golan Heights is part of Israel as far as I know."
Gush Shalom considered removing Barkan from the list after learning of its move to Hulda in August 2008, but decided against it.
"There are several other companies on the list that have operations in the Golan Heights," Keller said.
Faraj said that Barkan, which has maintained its economic standing despite its placement on Gush Shalom's list for 14 years, has no immediate plans to shut down its Golan Heights wineries.
"We're still considering the next step to take," he said. "But I find it hard to believe that we would [move out of the Golan Heights]."